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You Have To Be Fearless To Find An Audience

“I mean, if at some point in your radio career your boss doesn’t call you in to the office because somebody got their feelings hurt, you’re probably not doing it right.”

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As a sports talk radio host and a sports talk radio junkie, there are very few things that I appreciate more than knowing that I’m getting truth out of every single opinion that an on-air talent spits out. I appreciate those that are willing to go out on a limb with strong opinions, challenge the establishment, try new things, and especially those that are willing to call out local teams.

you can't say that! - sh-you-cant-say-that | Meme Generator

I think on a local level it becomes increasingly difficult as a lot of the stations that you might work for are the home of one of the popular teams in town. Those relationships are so valuable. The credibility that those team affiliations add to your radio station are invaluable. But if you are ever speaking through a filter, with some form of a sanitized take for the sake of a media partner, listeners will be able to see right through that. I know I can and I’m sure all of you can as well. 

For me, fearlessness doesn’t mean just being raunchy, rude, or saying outlandish things for the sake of getting a reaction. There’s a certain tact and approach that true authenticity provides and the minute that you lose that, you might not lose your audience, but I do think you lose your upside as an on-air talent.

Think of the most successful broadcasters that are out there, specifically those that are sports talk hosts, did they reach the mountaintop because they held back their opinions? I mean, if at some point in your radio career your boss doesn’t call you in to the office because somebody got their feelings hurt, you’re probably not doing it right. 

Of course, there’s a line that you should not cross and there’s a frequency in which badgering the local team, or whoever it might be that you’re offending, gets a little bit redundant and tiresome, but it’s about the willingness to have an opinion on absolutely everything without holding yourself back, that’s what makes the great one special. I think it’s an interesting conundrum for Program Directors as well because you might have hosts or producers that have an affiliation with a local team, maybe they’re the play-by-play guy or aspire to be that. Conflicts of interest arise with those relationships, even if they can be beneficial for everyone involved.

I work on the official Orlando Magic radio pregame show so I know this world all too well. I host an afternoon show in Orlando and I’m also working side-by-side with the Magic, so I have to thread that needle of honesty while also not affecting my standing with the team that aids my growth in my career.

It’s a balancing act, but it’s one I take very seriously. I don’t want to ruin relationships I’ve built over many years. I also don’t want my audience to ever think they’re getting anything less than the unvarnished truth. 

If you just watch those that have been successful to the highest degree in talk radio, you’ll see what I mean. Dan Le Batard, Clay Travis, Colin Cowherd, Howard Stern, or just insert your favorite radio host here, they are all fearless to a degree. None of those individuals got to where they are because they were scared to have an opinion. If I’m speaking openly and honestly about a story and a team in my market has that big of a problem with it, as long as I’m not stretching the truth or going on a witch-hunt, I feel as though it is within my job to provide the proper analysis, and if I were asked to hold back then that’s probably not a relationship that I need to be in anyway. As Program Directors, finding talent that can thread the needle is key these days, and it’s not easy. 

Threading Sewing Needles | ThriftyFun

In today’s world, it is becoming harder and harder to get your point across without offending someone somewhere. We live in a world of hyper-sensitivity, some of which is good, but it can be difficult to navigate in broadcasting. Even with all that, you can’t allow yourself to get bogged down by fear that you’re going to say the wrong thing. You should be able to get your point across without feeling like you need to censor yourself. In my mind, as long as you’re not a bigot or violating FCC rules, your honesty will be appreciated by your audience and your employer. 

Face it, we’re in the midst of an audio/content explosion, where there are about a million different options out there. So, if you hold back, if you let yourself become stale, sanitize your opinions, and don’t provide your most authentic self, someone else will, and your listeners will probably find them with relative ease. 

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Podcast

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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